E-Commerce continues to innovate and take off in multitude of directions disrupting the traditional global supply chain. Many large logistic providers including Parcel, Post, Trucking as well as multi-modal transporters are also investing huge in technology to keep up with the developments and mark their territory in new business models discovered by technology based commerce platforms.
Small to mid-size regional carriers on the other hand are still slow paced when it comes to investing into IT. Regional logistic providers usually work with known, limited clientele, focus more on operational excellence than increasing footprint across pre-defined geography and in turn become blind followers of the big guys in technology space.
Freight forwarders, online multi-carrier shipping systems (Rate Aggregators), and other logistic service mediators usually end up spending lot of IT budgets in matching customer expectations, heightened already due to e-commerce, with less-digitized regional and local carrier systems. This can go from extremes of basing entire accounting on excel sheets filled with Spot rates, to investing into own multi-carrier shipping systems burdened with frequent rate changes and carrier compliance
Some are thus seeking to be ahead of curve by creating their own supply and logistics operations, including having their own fleet of delivery vehicles and customized delivery times, and partnering brick-and-mortar firms to provide pick-up and drop-off points.
The opportunity in disguise is for small to mid-size logistic provider to ‘Externalize’ their data and open up for digital linkage with global supply chain. Be it traditional commerce through freight forwarders or e-commerce as well.
A digitally standardized publication of Carriers own data (service areas, public rate tables, surcharges) and services (rate quote, label generation, tracking, manifesting) can yield to tremendous opportunities and even new revenue streams for small and regional carriers. E-Commerce and traditional logistic service aggregators on other hand can build their own innovative business models and business logic on top of these core services to provide globally streamlined experience to end consumer.